Did you know that 65% of startups fail because of team issues?
It’s true! Not financing, not marketing, and not even the market in general… just team issues. Turns out, the people who make up your team matter more than ANYTHING else. Entrepreneur, investor, and operator Nicole Glaros sit down to teach us how to strengthen our teams and how to build them up in the future.
How much money are you spending on things like marketing and advertising? Probably a whole lot. But how much are you spending on making sure that your team is running as smoothly as possible? It’s safe to say you could be spending a bit more.
Nicole Glaros was the first non-founder at TechStars. She joined when the company was at about ten companies in the portfolio, 250,000 under management. Now, TechStars has over 2,500 companies in the portfolio (growing 500 companies per year), and ¾ of a billion dollars under management. She has mastered the world of team building and accelerating.
One element Nicole uses to screen companies surrounds team cohesion. Meaning asking questions like “What are the founder dynamics?” and “What is the relationship at the executive team level like?”. Communication between founders is massive. She’ll note if they’re respectful to each other if there is any tension, if they are engaging in difficult conversations, or if they choose to ignore their problems.
Why? Because it makes or breaks companies.
This stuff shines through pretty fast once you start looking for it. Nicole works with teams on how to build a constructive dynamic.
The bottom line, it takes three things to set your company up for success. It takes awareness, attention, and responsibility. If your team doesn’t engage in these three things, your business will suffer.
Nicole recommends that founding teams and executive leadership teams get coaches. Coaches help keep people honest; it’s like low hanging fruit thing if people don’t know where to get started.
Personality tests are helpful for other people to understand you, so they know how to relate better. There’s no correct answer here.
A big part of this is finding out what people’s values are. Seeing what their core and aspirational values are will help you know how the team meshes together. Core values are how you already behave; they come easy to you and can be unconscious. Aspirational values, on the other hand, are what you’re trying to be. You can probably be only 2 or 3 aspirational values as an individual or a team.
As long as your core values are in alignment, the rest will come.
Philanthropy can be a core value. The way Nicole sees it, the best thing she can do is give back 10x what she’s been given.
It doesn’t have to be just about money; it can be about time or attention if cash isn’t a resource you can give. Youths today are even demanding that their employers do this kind of work; it will help attract great talent.
How do You Cope With Feeling Like You Need To Go Outside of Yourself and Your Team to be Successful?
Most of the time, if you’ve gone through multiple accelerators and have not accelerated, the problem is with the company, not the accelerator. Some things you need more than ANYTHING are creativity and self-confidence that you can figure it out. And it would help if you built a great team.
There is no “quick fix” that will solve all of your company’s problems. Failure for entrepreneurs is so high because there is no guidebook for this stuff.
Keep in mind; you should focus on the outcome you want, not the problem.
Nicole’s grandma came to the country when she was 14, alone, without shoes, and with no grasp of the language. Relative to that, we have it SO easy.
For Nicole, knowing that THAT is where her power comes from is a massive motivator. There is no right path to the outcome you want; you build your own.
It’s one step in front of the other; you’ll eventually get there. On your journey, find your tribe, the people who understand, appreciate, and support you. They’ll help you more than you know.
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